photo courtesy of wikipedia
By DALTON GRIJALVA
The Oscars have been, to say the least, a lackluster popularity contest in the inner circles of celebrity ties.
Most of the time, the awards are full of pretentious pictures that most will never watch that don’t connect with many actual movie-goers.
The 2020 Oscars ceremony was actually a quite pleasant experience: “A surprise to be sure but a welcome one.”
For example, Eminem came out of nowhere halfway through the ceremony to perform “Lose Yourself,” a performance that was 18 years overdue. The crowd’s reactions started with confusion, but eventually some celebrities, such as Zazie Beats, appeared to be into it.
Though “Joker” was the most nominated film of the evening, “Parasite” was the scene-stealer of the night, winning four out of its six nominated categories.
What’s most impressive, however, is that “Parasite” took home the award for Best Picture and became the first non-English spoken film to win the category.
The women of the academy had an incredible night as well. The one that stood out the most was Hildur Guðnadóttir’s win for her score of “Joker.” This is memorable, considering her competition was not only all men, including the late John Williams, whose soundtrack for the “Rise of Skywalker” was his last score.
Her win was more than deserved, as without her music, “Joker” would’ve lacked the intensity and emotional weight it needed to hammer home.
Celebrity acceptance speeches can be voices for change, but they are often the subjects of jokes and criticism. There was no shortage of that, including Brad Pitts’ (Best Supporting Actor) political jab at the U.S. Senate. I thought Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix would go down the same route, but I was wrong.
Not only did Phoenix touch upon issues of environmentalism, but he brought up the issue of cancel culture. The Oscars are certainly guilty of this. Just ask Kevin Hart, who bowed out of hosting last year’s ceremony because of years-old homophobic tweets he had published.
To summarize, Phoenix’s speech chose to educate, help and ultimately redeem and forgive rather than crucify someone for something he might have said a long time ago. I’m sure Heath Ledger would be proud.
This year’s Oscars can be best summarized by “Parasite” director Bong Joon-Ho: “Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I’d win.”
The late Kobe Bryant’s presence also could be felt throughout the ceremony when it was honoring those that came before us; Mathew Cherry’s speech for “Hair Love”; or most obviously, Spike Lee’s Lakers’ tux, which displayed the Nos. 24 and 8.
This was the most interesting Oscars to watch, and I believe the producers are on the right track to make the awards show more engaging and fun.